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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

Tsubasa Imai Returns Triumphantly to the Stage

By Yuna Uemura

(Japanese translation below.)

Tsubasa Imai

Do you know the actor Tsubasa Imai? He is well known as a member of pop idol duo Tackey & Tsubasa, but he has only made a few TV appearances since he fainted due to an illness called Maniere disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes dizziness and ringing in the ears, in March, 2018, and he continues to receive treatment. One of his popular dramas is “My Lover’s Attic.”

It’s about a man named Itsuki Seno who suddenly crashes into the attic of his former girlfriend, Kinue, because he was being chased by a debt collector. There is an intimate belly dance scene which makes you want to take it up yourself. He appeared in various dramas before besides that one. He returned to the public eye for the first time at the Sistine Kabuki in Tokushima in February.

As a side note, Sistine Kabuki has been held once a year since 2009 at the Ootsuka International Art Museum, and the entire museum is closed for reservation only during the performance period. A newly written Kabuki performance with the theme of “Japanese and Western Collaboration” has been performed, as well as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Marriage of Figaro.”

This year it was held from February 13 to 16, and this years’ program was “NOBUNAGA.” Ainosuke Kataoka performed the role of Nobunaga Oda, where he played a twin, and Tsubasa played Luis Frois, a Portuguese missionary. Tsubasa also performed a flamenco dance.

The two-man tag team have been together since 2016. They announced their enthusiasm at a press conference. Tsubasa said, “I am able to make a new start. I was very nervous. I did it with the intention of flapping my wings. It’s a special day for me. Thanks to you I’m fine.”

On the other hand, Ainosuke talked deeply saying, “Tsubasa is starting a new adventure and he said that he is in search of a new dream and I think it may be perfect for him. We held hands and it touched my heart.”

Tickets for their performance were sold out within just 30 seconds and about 3,800 fans from all over Japan gathered. One of Tsubasa’s fans said, “One of the great things about Tsubasa is that he evolves more and more during the stage performance, even during solo concerts. But I couldn't imagine he would make such a comeback after his long and difficult absence."

"His dancing, singing and acting made me feel as if nothing had happened. I could see that Tsubasa had evolved, and it was so amazing and moving. And despite his absence, I could almost feel his heartbeat. Anyway, there was Tsubasa who had evolved despite his difficulties and he was right in front of me. I felt as if he were back.”

One thing all of Tsubasa’s fans have in common is that they will never forget Ainosuke’s kindness, because Ainosuke didn’t mind that Tsubasa took the lead role on the stage for Ainosuke's return for the 10th anniversary Kabuki performance.

In addition, Tsubasa said, “Ainosuke taught me how to express my emotion.” Throughout the entire episode, everyone understood that Ainosuke has a broad-minded personality, and has a good relationship with Tsubasa. It was a wonderful performance. In April, after the performance Tsubasa joined the Shochiku Entertainment company which Ainosuke works for.

From this October the next Kabuki performance will be “GOEMON.” Why don’t you follow Tsubasa Imai’s career from now on Instagram? I’m sure that it will be interesting and entertaining to watch his progress.


上村 優菜










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